REALITY CHECK: Guilt vs Progress

Critical Race theory is not taught in our schools. What is taught is our history, some of which is exceptional and some not admirable. Those attempting to ban the teaching of our complete history would deny our children the opportunity to understand it and correct our mistakes, improving our country. Consider Texas textbooks that describe slaves as immigrants and workers. Or saying that an opposing opinion to the holocaust must be taught. Or Virginia, whose textbooks describe slaves as happy. These folks are trying to cancel entire cultures because it makes them feel bad when the truth is told. “Teaching CRT” is a Republican hoax, designed to whip up the base about a lie.

Teaching our history is not the same as “blaming your children”, who were not even alive. If a student feels sad about something done in the past, they could feel empathy, and work to ensure that all people are treated respectfully. Could there be some projection going on here? You feel guilty, so you’re assuming that your children will feel guilty too? Or maybe you just don’t want to admit that our white ancestors were wrong.

Our children are not going to turn on each other because they learn history.  Indeed, some children already exhibit racism, learned from their families, as early as 5 years old.  Children are never too young to be taught about race. Questions about race and all differences should be responded to in an accepting, constructive manner.

Whose history would you cancel next? Native Americans, who colonized NC before Europeans did and were then killed or had their land taken away? Japanese Americans, who were put in concentration camps? Witches, who were killed by men for their independent contrary views?

What books would you ban? Looking back over history, it is fair to say that our values have changed over time. Books are written to entertain, educate, and expand people’s thinking.

The NC Social Studies Standards preamble, written by NC Superintendent of Public Instruction, Catherine Truitt, states, “However, it is important to remember that history itself doesn’t provide the sole explanation for why we have injustices, racism, and discrimination today, be they institutionalized or localized. Our human failings have at times taken the form of racism, xenophobia, nativism, extremism, and isolationism. We need to study history in order to understand how these situations developed, the harmful impact they caused, and the forces and actors that sometimes helped us move beyond these outcomes.”

School discipline policies disproportionately impact students of color. School funding inequities persist; giving white districts $23 billion more than districts serving students of color. I understand that for some people, racism is hard to “see”. But rest assured that it exists.

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